Are you a Landlord stuck with a Tenant who has fallen behind in rent, allowed the property to fall into a state of disrepair or breached the terms of the Tenancy Agreement?
Or are you…….
A Tenant who is locked in a dispute with your Landlord?
Our team of dedicated lawyers can help!
How we can help Landlords
We are able to help Landlords deal with all legal issues arising in relation to their property, from drafting simple tenancy agreements or the granting of a new lease to complex property disputes giving rise to litigation.
Our services include:
- Possession Proceedings and Eviction.
- Removal of Squatters.
- Leasehold and Service Charge Disputes.
- Unlawful Eviction.
- Tenancy Agreements.
- Housing Disrepair Claims.
- Deposit Disputes.
- Rent Arrears.
How we can help Tenants
We can help with the following:
- You have been given Notice to vacate your home and are unsure how to proceed.
- Representation at Court to those defending possession proceedings or warrants to evict, and to occupiers who are unlawfully evicted and wish to obtain compensation/reinstatement to a property.
- To those who have purchased property under a long lease, advice on disputes regarding service charges or management of the building and advice on lease extensions.
- Representation to those who face losing their home through allegations of anti-social behaviour.
- Assistance in respect of Tenancy Deposit Schemes and how deposits should be protected.
How do I obtain possession of my property?
Most Tenancy Agreements are Assured Shorthold Tenancies, usually for a period of 6 or 12 months. The Tenant is entitled to remain in the property for the entire duration of the Tenancy. The Landlord can only obtain possession if there is a breach of the Tenancy Agreement.
Once a breach has been established the Landlord must obtain a Court Order for possession.
A Notice, depending upon the procedure used, must be served in writing on the Tenant before proceedings can be issued. Care should be taken to ensure the correct Notice is served otherwise it will be ineffective.
If the tenant does not leave the property there are two possible routes to regain possession:
This is known as the accelerated procedure and deals only with the possession of the property, not with the recovery of unpaid rent, other monies or a claim against a guarantor. This is usually used when the landlord does not require a reason to serve the notice because the fixed term has expired.
Once proceedings are issued the tenant has fourteen days to file a defence. The Judge will look at the papers and consider any defence filed. If the Judge considers there to be a potential defence then the matter will be listed for hearing. If there is no credible defence then a possession order will be made giving the tenant 14 days to leave the property.
If a Landlord wishes to obtain possession of a rented property during the term of the Tenancy, the Landlord must have grounds for possession, as set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988. The
A Notice containing details of the grounds upon which possession is sought must be served on the Tenant.
Once proceedings are issued the court fixes a date for the first hearing. If no defence is filed then the Judge is likely to grant a possession order. The tenant is usually given 14 days to leave the property.
What all Tenants should know
If you have signed or are considering signing a new Tenancy Agreement make sure you know how your deposit is to be protected.
The Landlord or Letting Agent will usually require, at least, 1 month’s rent to be paid in full prior to moving into the property. This is what is known as your deposit.
In the event that you damage the property, contents or you breach your Tenancy obligation in respect of rent, your deposit will act as security for the Landlord.
However, many Tenants are not aware that the Landlord also has an obligation in respect of the deposit monies.
If your Shorthold Tenancy Agreement started after 6 April 2007, the Landlord or Letting Agent must ensure that your deposit is placed in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
A legal duty is imposed to ensure that your deposit is placed in one of these protected schemes within 30 days of having received it from you. The Landlord or Letting Agent also has a duty to write to you within that time period informing you where your deposit is held and protected.
If at the end of your Tenancy Agreement there is a dispute between you and the Landlord about how much of the deposit should be returned to you, the deposit will remain in the protected scheme until a mutual agreement is reached.
Representations can be made by you to the deposit scheme setting out why you disagree with the proposed deduction of the deposit.
The deposit scheme will seek to mediate between you and the Landlord to try to reach a mutual agreement.
In the event that an agreement cannot be reached you are entitled to bring a claim in the small claims court for the money owed to you.
Landlords and Letting Agents should all be aware of their obligation to protect Tenant deposits and provide the Tenant with the prescribed information regarding this.
However, in reality some Landlords do not protect the deposit in which case you may be able to bring a claim against the Landlord in respect of compensation for your original deposit and an additional award of up to three times the value of the deposit.
In deciding the amount of compensation the Court will consider the amount of the unprotected deposit, whether it was protected at all during the life of the Tenancy and the behaviour of the Landlord.
Should you require advice in relation to any of the above issues, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8318 4345 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Landlord and Tenant Solicitors, Lawyers, dispute, South East London, Lewisham, Lee Green, Greenwich, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham